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New Delhi, August 20, 2020
The ongoing battle between the Congress and the BJP over the Facebook row took a new turn on Thursday with former Union Minister Minister Manish Tewari accusing the social media giant of leaking his letter to the BJP IT cell chief and contending that this showed its collusion with the ruling party.
In a series of tweets, Tewari said: "Nothing demonstrates alleged collusion between certain elements at Facebook and certain elements at BJP than tweeting of my letter to Facebook Senior Management sent - August 18 2020 in the evening by @amitmalviya (BJP's IT cell chief)."
He sought to know who in Facebook shared his letter with Malviya even before it was formally acknowledged.
Malviya, earlier on Thursday, had tweeted about Tewari's letter to Facebook on the revelations made by the Wall Street Journal.
"Bharat Gopalaswamy, the man who Manish Tewari appointed as his go to man to lobby with Facebook in the US, and Rahul Gandhi at a meet of the Atlantic Council," Malviya had alleged while sharing a picture of the two along with his tweet.
Tewari clarified that Dr Bharat Gopalaswamy, whom he mentioned in his letter, was the Director of South Asia Centre at the Atlantic Council till last month. "He is an Indian. He advises me Pro-Bono on policy issues," he said in his tweet.
"I am surprised that Amit Malviya who comes from a party that Tom-TOM's NRI's & organises massive events abroad like Howdy Modi would like to paint my taking advise from a Gentleman of INDIAN ORIGIN PRO-BONO as blasphemy," he said in the tweet, asking the BJP leader to first disclose who in Facebook gave him the letter.
Noting that he wrote the letter as MP from Sri Anandpur Sahib and former Union Minister of Information & Broadcasting, Tewari said that rather than responding to "concrete questions asked of Facebook", it seems Malviya has been deployed to "deflect from serious revelations made in the WSJ story with regard to the alleged bending of Facebook's hate speech laws and alleged interference in Indian Democratic and electoral processes".
He said that he was "surprised" that Facebook had taken the "Amit Malviya route".